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CRSO EIS phone-in meetings for public comments continue - 03/19/20

Portland, Oregon – Four public comment opportunities remain for interested and concerned Pacific Northwest citizens to provide comments and listen to others’ input on the recently released Columbia River System Operations draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration added phone meetings to methods to provide comments on the draft EIS through April 13, 2020.

These meeting are conducted similar to in-person public hearings. Senior leadership from the agencies host each session and listen as comments are provided. Callers can listen to others' comments and can provide comments up to 3 minutes. These teleconferences are recorded, and comments are entered into the official record.

When:   March 19, 25, 26 and 31

All teleconferences start at 4 pm Pacific/5 pm Mountain time and are scheduled to end at 8 pm Pacific/9 pm Mountain time.  Callers can join a call at any time.

Where:  Toll-free: 1-844-721-7241

Caller paid and International: 409-207-6955 Access Code on prompt: 5998146#

The agencies continue to accept comments through an online tool at and through postal and delivery mail. Details are posted on

The draft EIS is available for public review online at EPA's searchable EIS database ( or


New agreements will deliver clean BPA power to PSE customers - 03/13/20

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration and Puget Sound Energy have reached a power purchase agreement that will help fill PSE’s capacity need as identified in the 2018 All Sources Request for Proposal. PSE has been evaluating resources that fulfill the capacity need and are aligned with the goals and objectives of Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires PSE to be coal free by 2025 and its electric system to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

“We have a commitment to the environment and deep decarbonization, so we’re excited to have reached a deal that will bring our customers clean energy like hydropower,” said PSE Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President David Mills. “To meet the anticipated energy needs of the region in the coming years, we will continue to look for resources on behalf of our customers.”

Under the five-year agreement beginning in January 2022, BPA will offer to sell PSE up to 100 megawatts of surplus power, generated from the Federal Columbia River Power System. At any given moment, that’s enough electricity to power approximately 80,000 Northwest homes. 

“This contract is another example of how BPA is working toward greater cost competitiveness and capturing the additional value of the low carbon federal hydro system,” said Suzanne Cooper, BPA’s vice president of bulk marketing. “By strengthening partnerships with regional utilities we can collectively adapt to the rapidly changing energy environment and that’s a great thing for all of us in the Pacific Northwest.” 

In addition to allowing BPA to take advantage of a new opportunity to market its clean, flexible hydropower and generate new revenues from capacity sales as part of broadening its portfolio of power products, the contract allows PSE to meet its capacity needs.

"As a leading non-profit whose sole focus is advocating for new, clean, sustainable and renewable resources, Renewable Northwest applauds this new 100 MW capacity and energy agreement between BPA and Puget Sound Energy,” said Nicole Hughes, Executive Director, Renewable NW. “By using BPA's clean Hydro system to help integrate new renewable resources in place of fossil fuels, they continue to help advance the region towards reducing our carbon footprint.  This deal is a win for both organizations and the region."  

Because resources like hydroelectricity can quickly increase and decrease to meet power demand, they can help the region achieve its renewable goals by dovetailing with more variable output resources such as wind and solar.

“The agreement by the Bonneville Power Administration to provide Puget Sound Energy with 100MW of cost-effective energy and capacity represents an important next step in utilizing the region's hydropower resources to integrate new, renewable resources into the Northwest electric system as it transitions away from fossil fuels,” said Wendy Gerlitz, NW Energy Coalition’s policy director. “This deal, which follows BPA's 2018 agreement to provide energy and capacity to Portland General Electric, also shows that BPA is doing the important work of developing new markets to strengthen the agency's financial health." 

Feds shift Seattle, Portland CRSO EIS meetings to 'phone only' - 03/12/20

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The developing COVID-19 outbreak in Washington and Oregon has prompted federal officials to adjust two scheduled public comment meetings for the recently released Columbia River System Operation draft Environmental Impact Statement, the agencies announced today.

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration decided that the in-person public comment meetings planned for Seattle and Portland will not be held due to the high number of COVID-19 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in those geographical areas and calls from local officials to limit public exposure. 

"Public comments are important, but so is public safety," said Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the Corps' Northwestern Division.  "In order to achieve both, we added teleconference options for the public."

In all, six phone-in opportunities have been added to the ways the public can submit comments during the comment period.

The decision to shift the Seattle and Portland meetings to "phone only" is also consistent with calls from state and county elected leaders and health officials.  Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown imposed restrictions on all gatherings larger than 250 people.  These directly affected the Seattle and Portland venues.

Details on when and how to call into the phone sessions will be posted at The agencies will continue to monitor the public health situation and make further adjustments as needed.  The public is encouraged to monitor the website for any updates.

The draft EIS is available for public review online at (EPA's searchable EIS database) or